Dell Children’s announces first pediatric Heart Transplant Program in Central Texas


The Texas Center for Pediatric and Congenital Heart Disease at Dell Children’s Medical Center, in partnership with UT Health Austin, the clinical practice of Dell Medical School at The University of Texas in Austin, is proud to announce it has launched a Pediatric Heart Transplant Program. The new Heart Transplant Program will start evaluating and listing children and adolescents in need of a new heart. The Heart Transplant Program is the result of strategic collaboration dedicated to a coordinated approach to the care of infants, children and adolescents with end-stage heart disease. The Heart Transplant Program means patients and their families will no longer have to travel out of town for this life-saving complex surgery.

Heart transplants are a critical component of the cardiology and cardiac surgery program at Dell Children’s, which is the only pediatric hospital in Central Texas offering comprehensive heart care for newborns, infants, and adolescents. Additionally, the dedicated 24-bed Cardiac Care Unit is fully equipped with state-of-the-art equipment, providing an advanced transplant multidisciplinary care team to manage all aspects of pre- and post-transplant care.

“This is a major step in Dell Children’s effort to provide the best care for the most complex cardiac cases in the region,” said Christopher M. Born, president of Dell Children’s Medical Center. “This has been an ambitious goal of our cardiac and clinical leaders. We are extremely proud of our team of skilled experts who have dedicated their careers to treating children with heart failure.”

Dell Children’s heart transplant team is led by Dr. Carlos Mery, surgical director of the Heart Transplant Program, and Dr. Chesney Castleberry, medical director of the Pediatric Heart Failure and Transplant Program, who is the first pediatric heart muscle disease specialist in Central Texas caring for children who receive a heart transplant or ventricular assist device implantation. The team also includes nationally recognized pediatric heart surgeons Dr. Charles Fraser, Jr., and Dr. Ziv Beckerman. Dell Children’s multidisciplinary approach to pediatric heart surgery brings together highly skilled and experienced specialists including pediatric anesthesiologists, transplant coordinators, pharmacists, nutritionists, social workers, child life specialists, physical and occupational therapists, providing unparalleled care for patients.

“Dell Children’s pediatric heart transplantation program is a pivotal life-extending surgery for children with advanced heart failure,” said Dr. Chesney Castleberry. “From careful evaluation of a child’s condition, through surgery and follow-up care, we are dedicated to providing the highest level of specialized care for our patients and families right here in Central Texas.”

The Texas Center for Pediatric and Congenital Heart Disease at Dell Children’s was established in 2018 and is led by one of the world’s leading pediatric heart surgeons, Dr. Charles Fraser, Jr. This program includes the integration of clinical academics and research-driven initiatives through the exclusive partnership with Dell Medical School at The University of Texas at Austin and UT Health Austin. As the only Level 1 Pediatric Trauma Center in Central Texas, the capability of the Heart Transplant Program is enriched by Dell Children’s depth and breadth of expertise in numerous subspecialities. Dell Children’s first left ventricular assist device (LVAD) procedure was performed in September 2019.